I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the past few weeks, mostly because I’ve been actually leaving my office and talking to lots and lots of writers. The one question that’s come up over and over has been this: “How do I work up enough confidence to actually send my writing out?”
And it’s this that’s brought me to the realisation that all published writers have a superpower.
So, what’s the one thing that all published writers have in common? I’m glad you asked…
I know that there are lots of possible answers here – we could talk about voice and talent and ability and discipline and … so on and so forth. But, after much thought and many conversations, I think what it comes down to is…
The courage to press send. To steel themselves against rejection and actually put their work out there.
Every single one of those published writers went out on a limb, took a deep breath, and sent their writing out into the world. Whether they self-published that work or went via traditional means or submitted to a magazine, they served themselves up on a plate to potential readers, knowing that those readers, be they agents or publishers or book buyers or editors, could simply sniff and turn their noses up.
It takes a brave writer to do that. But you will never be a published writer if you don’t do it.
I’ve written about rejection before. I know how hard it is. Writing is so personal.
But always ask yourself this: ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’. The worst that can happen is that someone says no, because what you’re serving up is not to their particular taste. So, to take my dining metaphor just that one step too far, you try another restaurant. And another.
And the whole time you’re sending it out there, you’re writing something else, so that if it comes back, finally, beaten and battered and you know that the market really wants pasta (sorry) not the filet mignon you are delivering, you’ll have another dish (sorry) all ready to go.
It takes diligence and persistence and all of those things.
But mostly it takes courage.